Storm Footage and More: 8/9
On the heels of a conditional tornado threat, a setup with more widespread severe thunderstorm activity was likely on August 9th. I stayed in Omaha the night before, as I knew there would be a fairly wide area with storm potential. The focused zeroed in on areas just to my north, so there was not a lot of traveling involved to get into position. With considerably less capping than the previous day, storms were likely going to start firing as early as midday or shortly thereafter. While there was at least a marginal tornado threat, any such storms appeared to be likely to hold off until late in the afternoon.
After picking an initial starting point of Mitchell, SD, storms began to initiate just to the northwest by the 2 to 3 p.m. time-frame. The storms did not look terribly impressive at first, but a few cells began to develop into supercell structures. I had my eye on one storm near Wessington Spings, which interestingly enough, is an area that saw a small-scale tornado outbreak last June and has had quite a bit of tornadic activity this year as well.
On my way up to the more prominent supercell, I approached a weaker cell to the south. I wasn’t sure how the interaction might possibly affect the inflow region of the cell the north. Oddly enough, dust started kicking up as I was just about directly underneath the southern cell and I observed a brief landspout, lasting perhaps 30 seconds. Upon passing that cell, I finally had a clear view on the supercell, which was displaying a rather substantial, low-hanging wall cloud.
It was around that time that the supercell became tornado-warned. Unfortunately, it was on the fringe of area radars and there was no clear, focused point of rotating in the velocity scans. Nonetheless, I setup to intercept and photograph the storm. The wall cloud gradually approached with varying levels of organization, but there was no time that I observed any funnel. There were brief moments where more organized rotation made things interesting. In the end, the storm merged with the southern cell and continued on toward the southeast.
That storm was probably the most impressive looking on radar all afternoon. I meandered south and encountered many other storms, although the storm mode was fairly messy with many storm mergers taking place. What made this storm chase memorable was the amount of storms and scenes that I was able to witness before finally calling it a night. Being able to time-lapse the supercell was neat, but the fact that several other storms, including a neat quasi-wall cloud, rainbows, churning skies and distant thunderstorms.
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